Dr. Chikodiri (Chi) Gibson, DNP, MBA, FNP-C, ACNS – owner and CEO of Chi Aesthetics MedSpa and Wellness Center – understands the commitment and attention to detail needed for success. She also knows firsthand the challenges facing small business owners who aim to build a solid financial foundation while leveraging opportunities.
Here’s how she got the funding she needed to stabilize finances today and plan for growth for her Staten Island-based business with help from the NYC Small Business Opportunity Fund and Pursuit.
A life-changing experience leads to lifelong goals
When she was 21, Dr. Gibson had a life-changing experience – her first beauty-enhancement service.
“I didn’t feel good about myself,” she admits, “and this changed my whole persona. It gave me a new level of self-confidence and I knew this was what I wanted to do for others.”
While this was the initial inspiration behind her business, Dr. Gibson says that there was another key driver.
“When I started receiving treatments, many practitioners couldn’t provide services to dark-skinned clients because the equipment, processes, or ingredients available could alter or even scar our skin,” she explains. “So, in addition to helping people feel great, I’m driven to provide services to all people by using the best equipment, processes, ingredients, and training available anywhere.”
A life-changing loss leads to a launch
Before opening her business in February 2022, Dr. Gibson spent years in the military and working for others. At the same time, she was earning two bachelor’s degrees, three master’s degrees, and a doctorate degree that, together, encompass science, nursing, healthcare, public health, business management and more. She also holds a slew of licenses and certifications related to the work that she and her team – two aestheticians and a nurse – offer.
She worked a full-time job while performing aesthetic services part-time on weekends and evenings while she gained the experience, and courage, to eventually open her own med-spa.
“Despite having years of training and hands-on experience in the field, the idea of leaving a steady, full-time job to launch a business was daunting,” she admits.
Then, a family loss made her realize that life is unpredictable. She went back to Nigeria to spend time with family and friends and upon her return to New York, she made the decision to move forward with her dream. She found a location on Staten Island and used her life savings, as well as help from family and friends, to launch her business in 2022.
A small business loan through Pursuit fuels success
Dr. Gibson’s previous professional experiences and education taught her a lot about business and financial management, but she admits that even with early success, it takes funding to create a strong and stable financial foundation from which to grow.
“Business has been great since we launched,” she says. “Even still, keeping the best aestheticians and nurses and having state-of-the-art equipment and services available are expensive. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, but to have financial breathing room and leverage opportunities meant that I needed a small business loan.”
It was a client, who is also a business owner, who told Dr. Gibson about the NYC Small Business Opportunity Fund.
“I didn’t think I’d qualify because I’d only been in business for a year, but I had my paperwork together as a part of day-to-day business management, so I thought, why not give it a shot?”
After submitting the initial inquiry, she received a list of potential funders. She chose Pursuit because the name resonated with her for what it represents to small business owners, “Like pursuing our dreams, our success,” she says.
About her loan experience, Dr. Gibson says, “Pursuit and Leo Zhang were fantastic,” adding that the level of care that she received from Pursuit was an unexpected bonus. “When a lender actually takes the time to read your business plan and understand your vision, you know that you’ve found something special and supportive, a real partner in success.”
Within days of approval, she had working capital funds in the bank. “When I found out we were approved, I was elated! It was the best feeling to tell my staff that we’re in great shape as we move forward,” she says.
About the loan process, Dr. Gibson adds, “If I had one piece of insight to give other small business owners, it’s to always be prepared, because you never know when an opportunity will come your way and you have to be ready. It’s hard to find time to deal with financials and paperwork, but it’s worth every minute you put in. If I wasn’t ready to go, I may have missed this and it has changed everything for the better. I have peace of mind knowing that we’re on solid ground.”
Pursuit can finance your business dreams
“Chi Aesthetics MedSpa and Wellness Center is truly a multicultural place for everyone. It’s my dream and my joy,” Dr. Gibson says. “And when we’re ready to grow and I need help again, I’ll definitely come back to Pursuit.” Pursuit provides access to more than 15 loan programs to help small businesses. Whether you’re interested in exploring options for your first small business loan or need additional financing to grow, contact us today